, October 2013
The sets, and the contrasts of the settings, are key to the staging’s success because McVicar and Devlin are not afraid to embrace the all-important sense of epic that sets this opera apart as something special. The more intimate moments also work very well, too…
The singing cast is first rate. Berlioz himself was deeply moved by the figure of the doomed prophetess Cassandra and it pained him more than he could say that he would never hear her music sung. I am sure, though, that he would have been pleased with her portrayal by Anna Caterina Antonacci. She is a magnificent Cassandra, worthy to compare with the best of them. She is a very gifted tragedian as well as a superb singer, and her acting skills are helped by Rousillon’s careful but not excessive use of close-up. Eva-Maria Westbroek’s Dido, on the other hand, goes to the opposite pole. She is a quiet heroine: it is her humanity and vulnerability that impress most, right from her initial duet with Anna when she sings of her dead husband.
The myriad other parts are all very well taken and they are never relegated to “mere” support. The chorus are on cracking form throughout. Their grand invocation to the gods in Act 1 really sets the scalp prickling.
On the whole…this release is a triumph. It realises Berlioz’s vision and reproduces an excellent production very well indeed. If you want Les Troyens on DVD, then you can buy this one with confidence. © MusicWeb International Read complete review